FreeWheel unifies decisioning for direct sold and programmatic advertising

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020
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FreeWheel Releases Next Generation Unified Decisioning to Transform How Industry’s Largest Media Players Transact on TV Content

  • As Programmatic Video Advertising Grows, Buyers and Sellers of Premium Video Rely on Technology to Optimize Across Sales Channels
  • NBCUniversal and The Trade Desk Are Among Those Tapping FreeWheel’s Technology to Improve Performance for Advertisers

NEW YORK — Today, FreeWheel, A Comcast Company (Nasdaq: CMCSA), announced the next generation rollout and market-wide Q2 availability of its unified decisioning capability that enables buyers and sellers to seamlessly transact across both direct sold and programmatic advertising. The capability was piloted last year and is now fully operational with enhanced functionality.

NBCUniversal, a global premium video advertising leader, and The Trade Desk, an industry-leading demand-side platform (DSP), are both using FreeWheel’s unified decisioning to achieve better results for advertisers.

FreeWheel’s unified decisioning capability integrates the once separate direct-sold and programmatic decisioning engines into a holistic, single ad delivery source. FreeWheel built programmatic capabilities, traditionally handled by supply-side platforms (SSPs), into its core software platform in response to shifts within the advertising landscape and an increase in programmatic demand for premium video inventory. Unifying demand into a single source allows more buyers to access high-quality, premium video inventory and drives value for sellers.

“At NBCUniversal, we enable marketers to reach key audiences across all screens with one simple solution powered by our One Platform offering,” said Krishan Bhatia, Executive Vice President, Business Operations & Strategy, NBCUniversal Advertising & Partnerships. “By incorporating FreeWheel’s unified decisioning into One Platform, we’re now able to combine direct sold and programmatic capabilities into one, making it even easier for clients to access all of our premium video inventory in whatever way works best for their business while allowing us to continue to improve the consumer experience. Since first incorporating this FreeWheel capability into our platform, we’ve seen 170% growth in programmatic video revenue, and we believe there is significantly more growth to come.”

FreeWheel’s platform offers publishers transparent unification of all demand sources and sales channels. By combining an ad server and SSP into a single system, FreeWheel has the functionality to consider all factors that impact both a publisher’s advertising clients and viewers, including:

  • Programmatic demand across multiple sources, including guaranteed deals and private marketplaces
  • Rules, objectives and requirements of the buyer
  • TV-level compliance, such as category and competitive separation requirements
  • High-quality user experienceconsiderations, such as ad repetition and relevance

For demand-side players, such as The Trade Desk, FreeWheel’s platform opens up access to additional premium inventory for advertisers by eliminating the need for waterfalling or header bidding – two techniques used by SSPs that may limit the number of advertisers who get to see and bid on an ad impression. According to The Trade Desk, scale within their platform has increased dramatically since using FreeWheel’s solution, with access to connected TV inventory increasing 300%.

“FreeWheel’s technology brought the entire industry forward by implementing unified decisioning for connected TV,” said Brian Stempeck, Chief Strategy Officer, The Trade Desk. “For advertisers, this makes increased scale available on premium content. Publishers also benefit, as they now can make the best choice possible on who buys the ad. Connected TV is one of the fastest growing channels in our industry, and unified decisioning is a big win for every part of the ecosystem.”

“As sales channels for premium video continue to diversify, it’s imperative that we reduce marketplace friction for buyers and sellers,” said Dave Clark, General Manager, FreeWheel. “Our work on unified decisioning supports our overarching efforts to connect advertisers and publishers in a way that facilitates their ability to buy and sell premium video, and ensure advertising goals can be precisely achieved across all screens.”